The Role of the Consultant

TL;DR — It’s Evolving

The Role of the ConsultantTL;DR — It’s Evolving

TL;DR — It’s Evolving


In undergraduate business school, there are two main tracks that students lean towards:consulting and investment banking. I want to use this story to address my viewpoint as to the future of consulting, specifically management consulting.

Some of the world’s biggest problems are solved by consultants. Companies hire consultants to bucket problems, address risks, offer solutions, and run-through implementations.

They add value by bringing insights and assured confidence to a company’s decision makers.

It is much easier and less risky to offer an opinion when you are outside of a company, rather than engrossed in internal problems. This principle the best consulting groups — like BCG, Bain, McKinsey and many others — to give recommendations to the best organizations in the world. Companies value 3rd party perspectives before making big decisions.

But the role of these “problem-solvers” is evolving.


Flashback to pre-1970. Collecting information was a major challenge for firms. That made it really really hard for leaders to make decisions with confidence.

Thus consulting firms, added value by accessing their economy of scale to provide information to companies. The consulting firms that had the biggest access won. And that was the differentiator.


Now we are in the present. Information is now pretty much ubiquitous across firms, so how do consulting companies differentiate themselves?

The answer — they hire the best problem solvers they can.

The hope, then, is that given proper information, consultants can make the best recommendations of the clients.

The companies that are able to hire the best people are able to give the best advice — and that is who wins. Thinking is the differentiator.

What’s Next

But the problem now is that artificial intelligence, given access to the same, ubiquitous information, will be able to come to the same conclusions as us humans.

So where, then, are consulting firms going to be able to add value and give advice… If computers can do that part of the thinking for us, what are firms going to do for differentiation?

My thought, knowing this will take time, is a change in the role of the consultant.

I see a world…

Consultants will become “tour-guides,” leading companies through the huge number of options they have forward.

I see a world where all information is accessible, all the answers are provided, and it becomes the task of the individual to find the right answers.

It is a different type of thinking. It’s like taking a test, but assuming all of the answers are right — some are just a bit more right.

And that, I believe, is the future of the world of consulting.

HEYO thanks for reading — let’s continue chatting on twitter @itsjordangonen

Tagged in Tech, Startup, Consulting

By jordangonen on April 26, 2016.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.